Tuesday, April 23, 2024

David Pecker's testimony today could provide the link between hush-money payments and Donald Trump's scheme to influence the outcome of the 2016 election

David Pecker begins his testimony in Trump NY trial (Reuters)

David Pecker, former publisher of the National Enquirer, is scheduled to be first up on the witness stand this morning at the Donald Trump hush-money trial in New York. One legal  expert says Pecker's testimony could provide one of the defining moments of the entire trial. David McAfee, of Raw Story, examines the take of New York University law professor Ryan Goodman under the headline "Law professor explains 'dynamite evidence' first witness brings to Trump criminal trial." McAfee writes:

The first witness scheduled to provide testimony in Donald Trump's historic criminal case in Manhattan will bring "dynamite evidence" that jumps to the heart of the case and shows Trump intended to conceal his affairs in order to win the presidency, a law professor said.

Raw Story reported on Sunday that The New York Times had sources suggesting the first witness to be called in the falsification of business records case is  former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker. Pecker, a key figure in the hush-money scandal involving Trump, is expected to provide crucial testimony about his role in suppressing stories detrimental to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

NYU law professor Ryan Goodman analyzed the prosecution's filings to see exactly what evidence Pecker would be providing during the first official day of trial.

Ultimately, Goodman concludes that neither Michael Cohen nor Stormy Daniels are likely to be the key witnesses in the trial -- but David Pecker might be. Writes McAfee, quoting Goodman:

"Pecker could be the key witness - in ways more devastating than Michael Cohen," according to Goodman's weekend analysis. "This also indicates the DA is foregrounding unlawful election influence for jurors."

Goodman goes on to say that "Pecker's testimony should be strong proof of the core allegation that the hush money scheme was geared toward influencing the outcome of the presidential election."

"Pecker was a principal at an August 2015 Trump Tower meeting with Trump and Michael Cohen, setting up the catch-and-kill election operation," he added on Sunday before sharing a piece of the indictment. "Here's the passage from the NY Indictment indicating the evidence the DA - including through Pecker's own testimony - can present re: the August 2015 Trump Tower meeting, which set the whole scheme in motion."

"At the meeting, the AMI (American Media Inc.) CEO agreed to help with the Defendant's campaign," says the highlighted part of the indictment.

"Pecker likely will  testify about his involvement in a flurry of phone calls, the day after the Access Hollywood tape broke, to buy-and-bury Stormy Daniels' story," Goodman added. "Pecker also likely will testify about his conversations directly with Trump and Cohen in December 2016 - on the arrangement for Trump to reimburse Cohen for the hush money payment to Daniels."

Further, according to the law professor, "David Pecker's dynamite evidence of nexus between the hush money scheme and the effort to influence the election includes "Pecker's own testimony that in the summer of 2017, the Defendant invited the AMI CEO to the White House for a dinner to thank him for his help during the campaign."

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